Elusive UK group SAULT follow up last year’s pair of stunning, seemingly out-of-thin-air releases with a brilliant and vital new album, fully realized in both sound and conviction, and it could not have landed at a more necessary time. Untitled (Black Is) captures all of the raw emotion, anger, pain, and hope of the moment; it’s at once defiant, heartbreakingly poignant, and incredibly triumphant.

Sonically, the record rides a similar musical lineage as those 2019 releases, but the stakes here are on another level. Producer Inflo, singer Cleo Sol, and a host of luminary guests (Michael Kiwanuka among them) deliver a dazzling array of stirring, deep soul-funk grooves, gorgeous Motown-inspired gems, blistering Afro-psych, and moving, lofty gospel-tinged mantras; the vibe throughout stays timeless yet undeniably current. The music is interspersed with inspiring, impassioned spoken word interludes that feel cosmic in their point-blank universal truths, as these passages — some mournful, others celebratory — contextualize, amplify, and enhance the message in a way that feels urgent and profound.

This is real protest music: a celebration of Black power, Black love, Black exaltation, and, as declared on the empowering “Us”, belief in “the magic of Blackness”. We will mourn and feel enraged again for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and the countless Black lives lost to police brutality and systemic racism every single time we hear song-of-the-year contender “Wildfires”, the album’s devastating emotional heart and core. It’s a beautiful tribute, a call-to-arms, and the essential soundtrack for this turbulent, revolutionary summer.

Update: SAULT is giving away the record as a free download on their website, but if you love it as much as we do, I urge you to pre-order the double LP on vinyl here.